While most diets these days focus on helping people lose weight, there are some folks who want to gain weight. But some people take "bulking up" to mean you can eat whatever junk food you want to gain weight, and this isn't healthy. Fortunately, there are certain foods you can eat to gain weight while maintaining your health. To gain weight the healthy way, aim for a diet of 60-70 percent carbohydrates, 10-15 percent protein and a small amount of fat.
Since carbohydrates should comprise 60 to 70 percent of your daily calories, it's important to choose the right carbs when trying to bulk up. There are a variety of healthy sources of carbs from which to choose. Stick to whole grain sources of carbs over refined grains because they contain added nutrients. Examples include oatmeal, whole grain cereal and bread, pasta, brown rice, quinoa and couscous. Eat starchy vegetables like corn, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes and green beans. Choose legumes like lima beans, kidney beans, black beans, soy beans and chick peas. And finally, snack on whole grain crackers and pretzels instead of potato chips.
Although fat should only comprise a small amount of your daily calorie intake, it's still important to choose the right types of fat. There are four main types of fat: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated and trans. According to the Mayo Clinic, saturated and trans fats may be harmful to your health because they can raise your total blood cholesterol levels and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, which can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead, choose healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats by eating foods like olive oil, nuts, sunflower and safflower oils, avocados and fatty fish like salmon.
Protein is considered the building block of muscle and is an important macronutrient that helps you bulk up. Choose lean sources of protein, which means fish like salmon, cod or tuna; lean red meats such as ground sirloin and flank steak; white meat turkey and chicken; eggs; and dairy products like milk, cottage cheese and low-fat yogurt.
Choosing the right drinks can also help you bulk up. Avoid sugary sodas, which contain empty calories and may contribute to fat gain. Making your own protein shakes is a great way to add healthy calories to your weight gain plan. All you need is a water bottle and a blender. Combine ingredients like frozen berries, peanut butter, bananas, protein powder and low-fat milk or yogurt into a healthy, tasty smoothie a couple times a day. Drinking alcohol in moderation is okay when you are trying to bulk up. Limit yourself to 4 ounces of wine, 6 ounces of beer or a half-ounce of liquor per day.
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